The Chronicles of Narnia; Voyage of the Dawn Treader


C.S. Lewis was an amazing man. He was baptized into the Church of Ireland at birth, but fell away during his teenage years, as sometimes happens even today. But through friendships with such brilliant Christian minds as J.R.R. Tolkein and others in the faculty at Oxford, he became Christian again. I remember hearing a quote from him saying something like, "I started to notice something that all of my colleagues had in common; they were Christian. Really... A young atheist can never be too careful." I know I'm botching that, because I couldn't find it again, but it made me laugh when I heard it. Lewis began believing in God again at the age of about 30, and eventually came to follow Christian values. He was more of a Christian than I think most people today are. This incredible man wrote The Chronicles of Narnia.

If you're not familiar with the CoN, I really recommend you read them. At least get them on audio book and listen while you clean, or drive.

My comments today will be about the movie, not the book. As with most of these situations, the books are much better than the movies...

But this movie was still fantastic...

I think the thing I enjoyed seeing the most was the journey that Eustace Scrubb goes through. I feel like they must have meant this to be the main spine of the story. The writers of the film made this change take a bit longer than it does in the book, but it was great because it made for a very tense plot. It also made the climax more powerful, as they had Eustace be the one to, essentially, save the day. The other characters each had their own temptations to overcome as well throughout.

Eustace Clarence Scrubb starts out as a little punk. They call him a 'sop'. He spends the first part of the movie this way. Reepicheep, a large talking mouse, tries to help Eustace adjust. Though (heh...) he goes about it in a way that makes Eustace feel very uncomfortable (trying to teach him how to fence by goading him). Then, Eustace is tempted by a Dragon's treasure and is punished by becoming a dragon himself.

Almost at once, his disposition changes dramatically. The first night, he cries. I imagine out of fear, because no one knows how to change him back. I'm sure it was probably a terrifying experience realizing what had happened, and realizing that he'd brought it on himself (though no one says that to him). At this point in the movie, Reepicheep wakes up and tries to comfort Eustace. It is here that they begin to form a bond that is not in the books, but I believe makes the story all the more relate-able. Everyone needs a companion, and sometimes that companion is not the person you thought they'd be.

As the story goes, you can tell (though he can't speak) that Eustace begins to understand that he's been a terrible person to everyone. And so, he tries his best to help in any way he can. When they've been sailing for a while, the wind dies and the men of the crew start complaining that "if I get any hungrier, I'm gonna eat that dragon."

("Don't worry Eustace, they'll have to deal with me first!" - Reepicheep)

Eustace proceeds to the bow of the ship, wraps his tail around the prow, and pulls the ship so that the men get a break from rowing. They are all grateful to him for this, and by nightfall they reach land. Eustace is very tired, but you can tell by his eyes that he's pleased with the crew's reaction.

Another event I thought was interesting, was when they reach "The Dark Island". All of the characters are frightened and anxious. Eustace is flying toward the island when Reepicheep (who is riding on Eustace's head) says, "There it is, my friend. Our battle awaits." As he says this, Eustace's eyes grow wide with complete terror and he turns to fly away. Reep starts saying "Eustace, no! Halt! Eustace, stop! Stop!"

The mouse then climbs down onto the dragon's snout and says, "I will not accept surrender. A noble warrior does not run from fear." Eustace's eyes look down in sadness, feeling that he is not noble, not great, not good enough. Then Reep goes on with, "Look at me! Look at me when I'm talking to you!" (Growl, eyes up to the mouse,) "I am a mouse. You, you're a dragon. You've got skin like chain mail, you breathe fire. Come on, let's meet our destiny." Eustace turns back toward the island, setting his face with determination, and flies back in.

How amazing. Again with the companionship, but more importantly, that a mouse, a mouse gave strength to a dragon. It was the mouse that did the encouraging. a MOUSE that had such great faith. What I learned from this is, do not  EVER judge someone based on what they appear to be. I have known big buff football players who were gentle. As well as beautiful girls who looked sweet, but could hurt with a single word. People are not always what they seem.

Just because the housewife down the street is smiling every time you see her, doesn't mean that her life is perfect.

Just because the man next door goes to work every day, doesn't mean he's making end's meet.

Just because the girl who parked in the handicapped spot can walk inside, doesn't mean she's not sick or hurt.

Just because the boy you sit next to in class is cute, doesn't mean he's not struggling with something, be it drugs, friends, porn, or a popularity contest...

Everyone wants to be the best they can, but there are always things going on behind the scenes. We need to be sensitive to this, and not jump to conclusions without knowing what we're talking about.

Don't judge others. And please, don't judge yourself.
Even the smallest heart can be noble.
It's not until you learn to appreciate yourself that others will begin to truly appreciate you.

 To finish my thoughts on the movie, Eustace ends up being changed back by Aslan (another great lesson, we cannot change our natures without the help of God). Later, he says, "No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't do it myself.... It sort of hurt, but it was a good pain. you know, like when you pull a thorn from your foot." (Change is not easy, it takes effort, and can sometimes hurt. But in the end it is worth it).

After his transformation back, Eustace completes the task they've been set, and goes home a completely changed boy. He says, "Being a dragon wasn't all bad. I mean, I think I was a better dragon than I was a boy, really."

The ending is powerful. Eustace says goodbye to Reepicheep, which is very tender, and really shows how far he's come, and how much he's grown throughout his journey. We say goodbye to Edmund and Lucy, who we've watched grow up in Narnia for five years now.

And they have to say goodbye to Aslan.

This is probably my favorite part of the entire film, because it has so much meaning and so much symbolism to our relationship with God.

Lucy: Will you visit us in our world?
Aslan: I shall be watching you, always.
Lucy: How?
Aslan: In your world, I have another name. You must learn to know me by it. That was the very reason you were brought to Narnia. That by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.
Lucy: Will we meet again?
Aslan: Mm. Yes, dear one. One day.

As she hugs Aslan and walks away to leave, there is an awful pain and longing in her eyes. I can imagine that this is how we must have felt leaving our Heavenly Father to come to this earth. That by knowing Him there for a little, we might know Him better here. I am grateful to know that we will meet Him again.

No matter your religious views, I hope you understand that these are my personal beliefs. I love my Father in Heaven just as Lucy loves Aslan, and I am grateful to C.S. Lewis for his faith, and his ability to write such symbolic material.

If you haven't read the books, do it. If you haven't seen the movies, do that too.

A funny quote to close...

Eustace: Mother says I have an acute disposition, due to my intelligence.
Reepicheep: I don't think he has a cute anything...

Darci- The Page Traveler

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